Sheffield Wheat Experiment

Last October, the Sheffield Wheat Experiment invited two hundred locals to plant wheat in their allotments, gardens, pots, public spaces or schools. Earlier this summer, the wheat was harvested, allowed to dry and then at a communal event held at Bloc Studios in late August, threshed. 130 kg of grain resulted: 2 kg went to local brewery, Grizzly Grains.

Grizzy Grains Brewery – Dave Pickersgill


This brewery commenced in 2020, brewing at the owner’s home in Walkley, Sheffield. In March, this year, they moved to a 4.5 Bbl. plant in an industrial unit close to Bramall Lane. Their original brewing kit, now the seventy-two litre mini-kit, was obtained from Crosspool Ale Makers. When Crosspool became a cuckoo, their newer plant was purchased by Grizzly Grains, owner and brewer, Sam Bennett. The brewery name came from his young daughter. Originally, Operations Manager at Heeley City farm, Sam now splits his time between the brewery and the farms honey operation, the unit acting as headquarters for both.

The boil commences – Rachael McNiven

Two days before mashing, the grain was torrified (or as my spell-checker insisted: ‘terrified’). Using the large oven at the nearby Regather Co-operative, the wheat kernels were subjected to high-temperature heat treatment. This breaks down the cellular structure of the grain and pre-gelatinises the starches in the wheat so that they are easily broken down at mash temperatures. In beer, protein aids head retention by bringing foam quality and stability. Torrified wheat contains a higher percentage of protein than malted barley. Ideally, for good foam retention, 5/10% of the mash should be wheat.

On the 9 September, the mash for the Sheffield Wheat Experiment beer used spelt, crystal malt, rice husks and malted barley with the Sheffield-grown wheat forming the final 10%. Hops were a mix of East Kent and Northdown. The result was seventy-two litres : 210, 330 ml bottles of a Belgian style amber.

As for the rest of the grain: 1 kg will be seed for sewing in the Autumn and the remainder will become flour. For information about the Sheffield Wheat Experiment: thesheffieldwheatexperiment.co.uk

The Mash is stirred – Dave Pickersgill
Breweries

About Dave Pickersgill

Dave has been a CAMRA member since the 1970s and has worked at almost 40 Sheffield CAMRA festivals, plus a fair number of others. He is Brewery Liaison Officer (BLO) for Abbeydale, Blue Bee, Bradfield and Loxley. A member of the National Pub Heritage Group, he leads on planning and pub heritage issues. He also edited the Sheffield's Real Heritage Pubs book, for which downloads vastly exceeded expectations. The hard copy was available in October 2018 and was a sell-out. The third edition is available as a free download. Alongside Paul Crofts, Dave was co-local organiser for the 2021 National CAMRA Members’ Weekend, AGM & Conference which was planned to be held at Sheffield City Hall on 16-18 April - now cancelled. We hope to see you at a future Members' Weekend in Sheffield.

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